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Spectators welcome again for East Coast, Poverty Bay re-match

For the first time in over six weeks, fans will be in attendance at rugby this weekend.

Civil Project Solutions Poverty Bay travel to Ruatoria tomorrow for the second match of their double-header against Ngati Porou East Coast.

Despite the resounding success of live-stream coverage, which went from streams with cellphones and GoPros to multi-camera broadcasts with commentary and analysis, it'll be great to have restrictions on supporters on the sideline lifted once again.

Last weekend both teams fought tooth and nail in an arm-wrestle that ultimately saw a late Poverty Bay penalty secure the game, 34-31.

Every player on the park had their part to play in agame that could've gone either way, setting the stage for an exciting second match-up.

With the Anaru “Skip” Paenga Trophy secured for Poverty Bay — it is only contested between the teams in Gisborne — they aim to also take home the PJ Sayers Cup, which is contested between the teams when East Coast are playing on home ground.

Poverty Bay head coach Tom Cairns said they were balancing performance with the need to give more players a chance to show their skills this weekend.

“A key for us is development, so we want to give them an opportunity.”

Last week NPEC exposed holes in the Poverty Bay defence with strong one-off ball running, and Cairns said they weren't happy with the way they defended and were working on strengthening it up this week in training.

“They harassed us at the breakdown but those are the things you work on . . . that's the nature of the beast. You can't hide much these days with video (replays).”

Poverty Bay will need to make sure they secure the ball at the ruck after NPEC showed their prowess in counter-rucking last weekend.

Winning rugby starts with a solid base up front. Having stability at the breakdown and recycling the ball quickly opens up the opportunities out wide.

The Poverty Bay backline looked to have their opposites' number last weekend; whenever they managed to spread the ball wide they were able to mount strong attacks.

Both teams got to see what the other was made of last weekend and it's up to the coaches and management of both teams to adjust their game-plans accordingly.

East Coast were able to hold onto the ball last weekend for extended periods and make Poverty Bay defend.

This led to a dramatic momentum change that nearly defined the game as NPEC piled on the pressure until they ran out of steam and allowed Poverty Bay to score 15 unanswered points to snatch the win.

Both teams will come out with something to prove tomorrow and with their cheering fans on the sideline players will leave everything they have out on the field.

It's going to be a bruising affair if last weekend is anything to go by. The players won't be holding back in their last chance to show who's the best team in Tairawhiti.

Cairns said he expected thousands of NPEC fans to be lining the sidelines and said it was tough to come away with a win on the Coast.

“She's going to be a real hard battle; I anticipate the game will be much of the same this weekend, tit for tat.”

Nick Bryant will control the action with the whistle. His assistant referees will be Ed Kawhia and Matt Richards. Kick-off is at 2.30pm.

The Poverty Bay squad for the game against Ngati Porou East Coast —

1 Toru Noanoa, 2 Shayde Skudder, 3 Atonio Walker Leawere, 4 Petelo Tuitaku/Juston Allen, 5 Fletcher Scammell, 6 Willy Bolingford, 7 Adrian Wyrill, 8 Jesse Kapene, 9 Ra Broughton, 10 Kelvin Smith, 11 Te Peehi Fairlie, 12 Tane McGuire, 13 Tione Hubbard, 14 Matt Raleigh, 15 Andrew Tauatevalu, 16 Riki Terekia, 17 Campbell Chrisp, 18 Juston Allen/Petelo Tuitaku, 19 Niko Lauti, 20 Jacob Leaf, 21 Paoraian Manuel-Harmon, 22 Ethine Reeves.

Rugby PB v EC - Trent Proffit, Jesse Kapene